If the Tea Party loves the Constitution so much, what are all these proposed amendments?

One of the myths surrounding the forming of the Tea Party in 2009 is that thousands or millions of Americans were horrified by how far the US government had strayed from the Constitution. These patriots wanted their government to “return” to a strict adherence to the words of the US Constitution. As explained by Freedom Works, a Tea Party group,

“The Constitution of the United States was promulgated and enacted by the most knowledgeable political philosophers and citizen-politicians in the history of the world… Starting with the Constitution, the law prevails, not the proclamation or arbitrary decision of a ruler, government bureaucrat, the enforcer or judge…

Without a doubt, this renewed interest in the Constitution has occurred because Americans know the federal government is out of control.  Outraged by corruption and special interest politics, Americans want smaller and limited government.”

Rather than being “outraged by corruption,”  it seems many Tea Partiers took a look at the Constitution and were outraged by what they saw there. For a group that seems to view the writers of the Constitution as demi-gods, Tea Partiers have a lot of proposals to change  what’s written in the Constitution.

For instance, I have heard lots of conservatives who would like to change the seventeenth amendment, so that we can no longer elect our Senators. They would rather Senators be elected by politicians in state legislatures.  It seems really strange that a movement which bills itself as the result of “the people” rising up against government wants to take power from the people and hand it to… the government.

Next, there are many Tea Partiers who want to change the fourteenth amendment, which famously gave citizenship to blacks after the Civil War freed them from slavery. It seems that many Tea Party members found out that this provision also gives citizenship to everyone born in America, even the children of illegal immigrants. As Dahlia Lithwick counters, “for many more Americans, the 14th Amendment represents what is best, not worst, about the constitution: its acknowledgement of human dignity and inclusivity, as well as the possibility for self-correction in the interest of forming a more perfect union.” That the Tea Party would seek to change an amendment so central to righting the wrongs inherent in our original Constitution, shows that something is sorely lacking in their world view.

Rick Perry, one of the Tea Party’s favored candidates for President has lain out seven  proposed changes to the Constitution. He  and many conservatives would like to see the sixteenth amendment repealed. The 16th allows the federal government to levy an income tax. Getting rid of this amendment would end one of the only forms of progressive taxation that we have in this country. All that would be left would be regressive taxes, which draw more revenue from the poor and middle class than from the rich. Apparently, all the Tea Party’s talk about lower taxes was only about lower taxes for the rich.

Add in the fact that the Tea Party is also pushing for a balanced budget amendment, and what you have is quite a confusing movement. On the one hand the Tea Party claims that the Constitution is practically a sacred text that deserves to be revered by politicians. On the other hand, Tea Party politicians and activists are claiming that there are many flaws in the Constitution and are actively pushing to amend  the Constitution in many ways. If this were any other movement, news coverage would say that this group was “hostile to” or “actively campaigning against” the Constitution.

I guess it just goes to show you that the Tea Party is no more “pro-Constitution” than progressives are. The Tea Party, like any other group, is pro-the parts of the Constitution that it agrees with, and anti-the parts of the Constitution that it doesn’t agree with.

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    • AF
    • July 12th, 2012

    Taxing the people was a “WAR TAX” an never n the original document. No one complained and it grew from there.

    Illegal immigrants were never in the original document…there was a system for people entering the country that has been abandoned. The children of those here Legally were to be given citizenship!

    Tea Party goers ARE outraged by corruption!

    They want only to take it back to what it WAS before it was changed!

  1. August 30th, 2011

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